INSIDE: This post is a guest post by Nicole from Tailoring the Good Life. Totally confused by what bullet journaling is and how it works? Or daunted by all the beautiful spreads on Instagram? You won’t be after reading this post! In this bullet journaling how-to, Nicole gives you everything you need to get started.
A quest for productivity…
We all want to be as productive as we can, right? But we are also busy mums. So how do we keep everything organised so we don’t forget the things we need to do? You guessed it; we make to-do lists! But where do we keep those lists so that we don’t lose them?
Enter the bullet journal…
A great place to store all our different to-do lists is in a bullet journal. I have to say that bullet journaling is very appealing to me. I think it has something to do with the organizing aspect of it. You see, I love to-do lists and lists in general and that’s what bullet journaling is about. The name says it all; a journal that’s written in bullet-form.
I also like the creative side of bullet journaling. I used to make cards and scrapbooks. Not able to do that anymore (because there’s only so much time in a day), I miss being creative. Playing around with beautiful papers, stamps, washi tape, and colourful pens. You can get pretty creative with your bullet journal, you know.
Now I think of it, in the days that I was a teenager (a loooong time ago!), we used our calendar books not so much to write down our tasks and assignments. But we used it more to scribble and pen down words and quotes. Or for doodling and drawing. For me, bullet journaling feels like the grown-up version of those teenager calendar books.
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So, what is bullet journaling?
You’ve probably have heard of bullet journaling before. But to clarify, a bullet journal is a notebook that you use to write down your thoughts, ideas, appointments, habits, and tasks using a certain method. You can apply this method how you see fit and for whatever you want to keep track of.
Bullet journaling uses specific symbols (also known as bullet journal keys) to see right away the status of a task. Think about a completed task, a migrated task, or a priority task. Much like a calendar, a bullet journal has a monthly, weekly, and daily log, where you write down the different tasks, notes, and events. Check out this video from Ryder Carroll, the creator of the bullet journal to see how it works:
Bullet journaling how-to: Increasing productivity…
After you’ve bought your bullet journal, the first thing you want to do is add your keys (remember, the symbols for the different statuses of your tasks). You need to get the basics up.
That also means creating an index. Just like in a workbook or planner, you need to be able to quickly find the right page. Don’t forget to check whether your bullet journal has page numbers. Add them if you need to.
A bullet journal is also a great place to have your goals written down. Writing out the different steps of your goals increases productivity big time. You know exactly what to do and when to do it. You can add the broken-down steps from your goals to your different logs and check them off when you’ve completed the step. This makes it so much easier to accomplish your goals.
Bullet journaling how-to: Tracking your tasks…
Much like using a planner, you write down the tasks that need to be done on a particular day in your weekly or daily log. You don’t forget things and you know what to work on when your day starts. Using different colour fine-liners for different areas in your life makes it even more visible where your priorities lie.
For instance, for work-related tasks, I use a blue fine-liner. For personal tasks, I use a pink fine-liner. And appointments are written down with a green fine-liner. Of course, you could use a regular black fine-liner too, it’s a matter of personal preference. But using different colours makes it even more visible to me. Something that’s increasing my productivity, I definitely recommend giving it a try too.
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Bullet journaling how-to: Different layouts and what to track for better productivity…
Now there are a ton of different layouts you can include in your bullet journal. But remember, if you set up all those different pages, you’ll likely want to keep them updated too, right? For instance, you could add a page for exercising. Writing down when you walk, how far, how long and where you walk to.
Think about the value that it’s giving you. If you want to keep track of your exercising and all the different aspects of it, by all means, write it down. But that can be time-consuming. I only write down ‘walk’ and check it off, when I come back from my walk. My Fitbit keeps track of the distance, burned calories and more for me. I don’t want to write that down in my bullet journal too.
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So, what are the more ‘productive’ layouts to include in your bullet journal?
- Monthly, weekly, and daily logs: For your tasks and events.
- Your goals: Have them collected on a page in your bullet journal, but break them down into steps. Add those steps to your monthly, weekly, and daily logs.
- Meal planning: Have a page for the whole week and make it part of your daily log. Knowing in the morning what you’re going to have for dinner later that day, let’s you take planning your meals into account.
- Your to-do lists: Think about the different to-do lists you have. Keep it visual what needs to be done in your household, projects, and seasonal to-dos, like buying Christmas gifts.
- Time management: Keep track of where you spend your time. It’s a great way to understand whether you’re as productive as you think or hope you are.
- Cleaning lists: Keep your cleaning lists in your bullet journal so that you can quickly see what needs to be done every day, week, and month.
- A ‘done’ list: This list is as important for your productivity as your to-do lists. It can give you a boost to see what you have accomplished in a certain amount of time.
Bullet journaling how-to: Making the most of your bullet journal…
Be sure to make it part of your daily routine. Because you can make a beautiful and handy bullet journal all you like but it needs to be useful and practical too. Only then will it help you with productivity.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nicole is a busy mom of 3 teenagers and married to her best friend. On her blog Tailoring the Good Life, she helps busy moms of teenagers with articles, juggling their time using routines, schedules, and giving them time-management tips. A chocolate addict, she looooves bridges but is most of all a schedule junkie!
A bullet journaling how-to and how it makes you more productive…
Thank you so much for this post, Nicole, what a great bullet journalling how-to! If you’ve never given bullet journaling a try or up until now you’ve been too afraid to try, these tips are guaranteed to help get you started.
I especially love the idea of having a ‘done‘ list. It’s all too easy to look at our to-do lists and feel discouraged by all the things we’ve not yet ticked off. But I think having a page to record everything we’ve done already is a great way to feel accomplished – and motivated to keep going…which is great for productivity, right?!
Here are Nicole’s top bullet journaling how-to tips again:
- Set up the basics BEFORE you start – add your keys, your index and your monthly, weekly and daily spreads.
- Add a page with your goals and add logs that break down all the steps you need to take to accomplish those goals.
- Create layouts for all the things you want to track in addtion to your goals (your habits, meals, cleaning schedule, spending tracker etc.).
- Use different colour pens for the different areas of your life (work, personal, appointments etc.).
- Make filling in your bullet journal part of your daily routine.
That’s it for this post! Do you use a bullet journal? Has this bullet journaling how-to tempted you to give it a try? Let me know in the comments!
Until next time…
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